Peace process parallels

LTTE & Pakistan cannot hope to win on the negotiating table what they could snatch by force

Some interesting parallels between two of the sub-continent’s ‘peace-processes’ — first, non-status quo players seek to win by negotiations what they could not win in war, and second, prolonged detente is against their interests.

In that sense, Musharraf’s simple solutions (and he now says there are 15 of them) and LTTE chief Prabhakaran’s insistence on the interim self-governing authority are simply attempts to achieve what would have been impossible by military means. In Sri Lanka’s case, as Dr Suryanarayan writes, the formation of an interim self governing authority would confer on the LTTE the international legitimacy even before the peace process is concluded, allowing Prabhakaran to discard federation-based or confederation-based solutions in favour of total separation of the Tamil-majority areas.

Too long a ceasefire is counterproductive for the Tigers — their internal rifts will only become wider and worse, their claims to be the sole representatives of the Tamil community would become increasingly unbelievable. Kashmir’s separatists are confronted with a similar fate.

Nepal’s Maoist rebels perceive that their armed campaign can achieve a total victory over the ‘constitutional forces’ of the king and his government, so for the moment at least, they are spared with all the doubts and anxieties of the peace process.